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Support Your Backbone

Posted by on in Education Leadership
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It’s been said that the Principal is the face of the school.

If that’s the case, then the Assistant Principal is definitely the backbone!

For those lucky enough to have an Assistant Principal in your building, they are the ones who work, for the most part, behind the scenes in a number of areas.  They are the ones who organize and lead efforts such as: the master schedule, testing, staff development, student discipline, assemblies, recognition events, duties, ceremonies, buildings and grounds, and staff evaluations.  And, while doing all of these important tasks, they do it while connecting with students, staff, parents, and community members!  Could you imagine what would happen if your Assistant Principal wasn’t there?

This week marks National Assistant Principals Week

April 10-14, 2017 

To honor your Assistant Principal, please take time this week to thank them. Watch them in not only what they are doing but how they connect with others.  Observe what time they come in the early morning to get prepared for the day and make it to cafeteria or hallway duty when students arrive.  And, see what time they leave at the end of the day after all the paperwork and emails are checked before going to cheer on the students at that sporting event or concert.  Assistant Principals are definitely the backbone!

Because they provide so much throughout the school year, it’s important for Principals and staff members to support them.  Here are 5 considerations to support your Assistant Principals:

  1. Support APs in Leading.  AP’s are always looking to lead initiatives.  Sometimes, APs are given tasks that are not always pleasant.  Consider giving them leadership opportunities in the school to help them feel even more ownership and get re-energized!
  2. Support APs in the Work.  AP’s are always looking to better understand the intricacies of the school.  In order to be more effective as a team, consider involving them in the building work, such as planning in the building improvement process, analyzing test scores and behavior supports, building the master schedule, or even understanding the facility or finance processes.
  3. Support APs in their Growth.  AP’s need time to get out of the building and learn with others to promote their growth.  Consider sending them to conferences or workshops and allow them to bring information back to share with the school community.
  4. Support APs in Taking Risks.  Due to the nature of their work, APs see things differently from students, teachers, and the Principal.  Consider encouraging them to share their ideas and then support them in taking risks by making changes to things they see around them.
  5. Support APs in Cultivating Positive Relationships.  In many situations, the AP serves as the primary disciplinarian.  This tends to create a lot of stress and burn-out.  Consider allowing them to lead a student group or even join a community group as the building representative.

I am blessed to work with great Assistant Principals who provide such great support to our schools with both academic and behavioral leadership!  Thank you to Allie, Geno, Greg, Ken, Kevin, and Rob!

I encourage you to share a shout-out to your AP in the comments section below with a note on why you appreciate them!

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  • Guest
    Aric Thomas Monday, 10 April 2017

    I couldn't agree more. Being a leader is leaders takes time and purposeful planning. Giving the APs leadership opportunities allows them to practice their craft and reflect on their results. I'm thankful for Ben, Jaivir, Laura, and Vickie.

    Another consideration is to find their strengths and weaknesses. Once you understand their career goals, you can help them refine and reinforce these areas.

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